Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What a Wednesday!

Wednesdays are pretty easy days for us.  Tarja got busy right away on  Melody and I went to the store and got stuff that she wanted to use to make brunch for us. I also found a fun Elmo book for writing practice and some Elmo flashcards to use for Ivana. Melody made spinach and mushroom pizza with Alfredo sauce for me and for herself, and a pepperoni pizza for the spinach haters.  How can you not love spinach????  Tarja got to help put the pepperoni on the pizza and then worked out of her new Elmo workbook while the pizza baked.  Abbey worked on her stuff and then Ivana played on (keep in mind that she's 22 months old).  I dropped Melody off at work, came home and made this:
then dropped Tarja, Abbey and Ivana off at a friend's birthday party.
While they were at the birthday party, I gave a private lesson for a new Sparkler member.  As soon as I got everybody home from the party, I received an order for an emergency Minion hat for a Halloween costume.  I got that finished up in less than an hour, cause I'm the Minion Making Mama.
Now, let's see how quickly I can put together a Halloween party on a budget, a Thanksgiving food basket project for my Girl Scout troop, complete a fairly large crochet order that is wanted almost immediately, and get ready for one, possibly two twirling performances within this next week and a half.  RUNNNN!!!!!!

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm Busy and I KNOW It!

So it goes a little something like this:

1.  Get up, get dressed, get some makeup on, get out the door.
2.  Drop Princess Abbey off at the animal shelter.
3.  Run by a friend's house for a minute.
4.  Stop by the church to find out what time they want The Sparklers at the St. John's Festival.  No one was there.
5.  Go to our favorite convenience store got gas and drinks.
6.  Empty any trash that might be in the Tahoe, cause that's my habit that I've established.  We get gas, we empty trash.
7.  Get on the road that leads us to Walmart in the next town.
8.  Stop at the convenience store instead, cause Princess Tarja needs a pit stop and Princess Ivana needs a diaper.
9.  Stop to eat lunch at Long John Silver's, because Princess Ivana is howling at us from her car seat.
10. Hit Walmart to get Princess Melody's shoes that she needs for work.
11. Stop at Sam's Club for gas, because they are below $3.00 a gallon today.  Yay!
12.  Hit a party supply store to get an item that my friend needed.
13.  Get home and pick up Princess Abbey from the animal shelter.
14.  Run through McDonalds to get Princess Abbey some lunch.
15.  Run BACK to McDonalds, because they gave me a Doctor Pepper instead of a Diet Coke.  GRRRR
16.  Run Princess Abbey and Princess Tarja to practice for the local haunted house.
17.  Drop Princess Ivana off at her babysitter's house.
18.  Beat is to the park to teach a one hour twirling lesson.
19.  Pick up Princess Ivana from the babysitter.
20.  Drop Princess Melody off to work.
21.  Pick up Princess Abbey and Princess Tarja from haunted house practice.
22.  Make BBQ sandwiches with ground beef that I needed to hurry up and cook, and leftover hot dog buns from last night's dinner.  I agree, Martha Stewart.  It wasn't that good, but it was fast and everybody got full.  Sticking tongue out at Martha Stewart, even though I love watching her shows.
23.  Had a good heart to heart talk with a friend.
24.  Had my supper....that wasn't all that good, but it was supper.  Thank you, Martha Stewart, for pointing out that bloggers are bad, because we might post recipes that have been untested.  Har Har Har
25.  Did a little facebooking, and realized that I still haven't started a friend's garter that she needs for her wedding that's in three days. 
26.  Going to get off of here now, and start working on that garter.  LOL!

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Little Lazier Today

Sunday in the household of The Four Princesses was a little slower than Saturday.  Not by much, though.  To make use of some of the peppers that I got in Coyanosa yesterday, I made jalapeno popper dip, which is one of my favorite things in the world.  Then, Melody and I went to help get the Girl Scout house ready for tomorrow's Fall Festival.  I don't know that we were THAT much help, but we did as much as we could.  Melody had to get back to the house to get ready for work.  I launched a project for my Girl Scout troop for Thanksgiving.   For supper, I made stuffed poblano peppers, which turned out to be hotter than Hades.  I have never had a really hot poblano before.  Maybe I'm just crazy.  So, all that I have eaten today has been things involving really hot peppers. Let's hope that I am alive to blog about it tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Soccer, Pumpkins and Parties

This morning, we got up early to take Tarja to her soccer game.  She loves to play soccer, almost as much as she loves ice cream.  It was cold this morning.  Two other girls and their mothers showed up.  One mother sent me a message to tell me that her daughter wouldn't play today, because it was too cold, and the rest just didn't come.  The three that we had ready to play were in tears when it was determined that we had to forfeit to the other team, because we did not have enough players.

As soon as we left that situation, we went home, changed clothes, gathered up the rest of the family, and headed off to Coyanosa, Texas, which is not very far from where we live.  We went to the Mandujano Brothers pumpkin patch.  They were having a family day, and this was our first time to get to go.  As soon as we got there, we got to take a hayride out to the middle of the pumpkin patch.

There, we were left to scout out our perfect pumpkins.

We picked out one pumpkin for each of us.  The driver of the hayride returned to take us back to the area where we had to pay for our pumpkins.  I paid $25 for the five pumpkins.  We put them away, and then we went through a maze that they had created with bales of hay.  There was also an area where the kids could just jump in the hay, which Tarja was though was amazing.

Indoors, there was a place to buy hot food, packaged food, a few areas with photo props for us photo loving mamas, and a jumper/slide for the kids to play on.  We stayed as long as we could get by with and still get home in time for a dear little friend's birthday party, and for Melody to get ready for work.  On our way out, we stopped at their roadside vegetable stand, and purchases big bags of poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, a watermelon and a little, white, Cinderella pumpkin.  I think that I spent about $18 on all of that.  Now, the job is to figure out how I want to prepare and preserve these items.

Me, Tarja and Abbey went to the costume Halloween birthday party while Ivana had a nap, and Melody washed her uniform.
  The birthday party was a success.  I even got a crochet order out of the deal.  I dropped Abbey and Tarja off, picked up Melody, dropped her off at work, and went to the store to purchase the materials needed to make the ripple baby afghan that was ordered by one of the party guests. 

For the rest of the evening, I need to make two newsboy caps and start on the ripple afghan.  My house is a disaster, because that's what typically happens on days like today.  I don't know how it happens, since we weren't here all day, but someday it might make sense.

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Sparklers Parade Corps

I promised a blog about The Sparklers, and didn't have a chance to bring it, but this group is something very, very dear to me.  I have had small twirling classes since I was about 16 years old.  Some of these groups went over really well and some of them tanked for a variety of reasons.  It was a trial an error processes that has spanned the course of  approximately 21 years.  WOW!!!  Has it really been that long?  Am I really THAT old????  Let's put it this way:  I have "little twirlers" that are married with children now.  YIKES!  I have taught children of twirlers that I have taught.  DOUBLE YIKES!

At any rate, the specific group that has been known as The Sparklers, started out in a little town called Crane, Texas, as a Girl Scout activity.  We had not created the name at that point, but I knew that all of the girls were interested in baton twirling, cheer leading, dancing, etc, and I felt that it was not very much fun to have Girl Scouts riding on floats in local parades.  The floats were usually bland, at best, and the girls didn't have a chance to really show themselves.  It would be a mess of girls, sitting on a poorly decorated trailer........a big waste of time, in my opinion.  I asked this Girl Scout group of varied ages if they would like to try baton twirling and they unanimously decided to do it.  They used money that they had earned through product sales to purchase their Girl Scout sashes to wear for their first parade, and I taught them a very easy routine to some fun, popular music.  It was a big hit.  After that parade, they decided that they wanted to continue twirling, and so we named ourselves The Sparklers, because it was a patriotic themed group. 

After that first year of The Sparklers being only open to our local Girl Scouts, we began to invite other girls to participate.  The first parade that we did as a community group, we were awarded honorable mention for the July 4th parade and the next year, we were Best Youth Entry.  Things just blossomed from there. 

We moved to another town, called Monahans, Texas, which is about an hour away from Crane.  The first thing that happened to us in Monahans, was that our new house got broken into and every single baton was stolen, including batons that I had used myself as a little girl.  I was devastated.  This may not be something that would affect other people exactly the way that it did me, but my entire life had been wrapped up in twirling since I was a little girl.  The thieves should have taken any number of things, but that. 

About a year later, I was able to buy new batons for all of us, and I got started working with just my own children again.  They invited some friends to start practicing with us.  We did a couple of local parades.  I started getting phone calls from mothers, wanting to know how to sign up, and before I knew it, I had this amazing team of girls, eager to learn, ranging from age 3 to 18.  When I realized how truly large we had grown, was when I tried to get a picture of the group rehearsing, and discovered that I could not fit them all in my camera's view at the same time! 

Since then, girls have come in and out.  Some have left and came back.  I feel the sting of any of them that leave, and rejoice when they return.  Some girls move away, some have health problems, some just decide that twirling isn't for them, and some even go to different teachers.  I do feel the loss and gain of each and every one of them.  God brings us all together for a reason, for however long that may be.  My team usually averages about 25 girls at the time, with most of them active, while others just come when they are able. 

This year, we have performed in three parades, with a fourth on the schedule, the local Freedom Fest for July 4th, Relay for Life, the Big 2 News talent show, and had two half time performances for the West Texas Drillers football team.  We have many, many dates booked between now and December, and invitations are already coming in for the summer. 

We have had a lot of support from places like the local Chamber of Commerce, Pinatas by Missy, Persuasion Car Club, Critter Oasis and St. Johns Catholic Church  Without them, I don't know that we would have grown exactly the way that we have.  In turn, we have helped with fund raising for Critter Oasis, and have participated in school supply drives.  There will be more community service activities as they come available. I am so grateful for all that everyone has done for us. Also, the support from the parents in this group is phenomenal, and I am still in contact with MY twirling teacher from "back in the day."  She still goes down in the books as being one of my all time favorite people.

Here are The Sparklers and the Lady Drillers:

 Here is the last July 4th Parade, with Persuasion Car Club lined up with us: 
 They were all smiles as the parade was about to start rolling:

 This was a private lesson with a fellow homeschooling family:

The photo above was from Christmas 2012.
Below, the girls took a picture with a Hello Kitty twirler pinata that was made by Pinatas by Missy.  

Above, the parents put together this float for the girls for the Christmas 2012 parade.
As you can well imagine, there are many, many more pictures, and will be many more made in the coming months, but I just wanted to share this exciting part of the lives of The Four Princesses.  Hope that you are loving it as much as I am.

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Girl Scouts and Stuff

Yesterday, it rained all day long.  We didn't get to have our twirling lesson.  Tarja was upset about that.  I wasn't thrilled, since we have a parade this coming Friday in the next town.  Today, it has stopped raining, but it's a little bit cold.  I have a private lesson this afternoon with a new student, so I'm excited about that, and am hoping that it doesn't get rained out.  For those of you in the twirling world that wonder why we practice outdoors anyway, I have to add that we have the majority of our performances outdoors, so it stands to reason that we would practice outdoors.  When it gets too cold to do so, we practice at a church that has generously donated the use of their gym.  This allows us to practice year round.  We are the only twirling, dance or cheer team that I know about in our area that doesn't break for Summer.

Melody made my nails look like panda bears today, and then we had to rush off to a Girl Scout service unit meeting.  It was a good meeting.  I think that we got a lot discussed that needed to be discussed.  I love that we are a drama free group.  We all seem to like doing the same things.  I am the nerdy Girl Scout, though.  I have never been into camping.  I prefer doing things like learning home survival skills, crafts, emergency preparedness.  However, I am going to take the camping training next month.  Maybe after that, I will enjoy camping a whole lot more. Here are my panda bear nails.  I haven't had my nails done in a very long time.

Now, something that I worry about is the government shutdown.  It hasn't directly affected my family, but I fear that it will in the near future.  What about you?  Have you lost anything or fear that you will lose anything because of it?  If so, what can somebody do to help?  Please comment and don't hold back.  We, truly want to know.  Also, please don't turn it into a discussion about who should and should not be on government assistance.  That's another blog for another time, guaranteed to ruffle your feathers.  For now, let's focus on our families.  Tell us what is going on in your part of the country.  As for me and the Four Princesses, we had a little executive session last night about cutting out unnecessary spending for awhile.  After all, we are small business owners, who have customers that may be affected by this situation, and that will affect us. 

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Monday, October 14, 2013

Columbus Day OFF

The local public school did not give kids the day off from school for Columbus Day.  I gave the Four Princesses the day off.  Well, at least they had a day off from logging into their online courses.  They still watched educational programs, did chores around the house, went to soccer practice and Girl Scouts.  I don't think that there is really a such a  thing as a day off in our house.

I think that the biggest part of my home based business is my crocheted hats and beanies.  People from all over the place will order them from me.  I think that's awesome, and I am very grateful.  A lot of times, the sale of one hat puts gas in my car or food on our table.  The sale of one hat buys at least a week's worth of diapers and wipes.  Wages might be higher, but so are prices for everything, and it isn't as worthwhile to work outside the home as one might think.  I was one that thought....and lost, so I'm back in the WAHM saddle again, full force.  I can DO this.  I know I can.

Here are some of the hats that I have made just within the past few days:

Yesterday, I mentioned trying to use up stuff around the house, or trying to find alternative ways to use up stuff that I found no longer useful.  We made the giant bubble solution, which was great fun.  So much fun, in fact, that we took the bucket of bubble solution to Girl Scouts tonight, to play with while waiting for girls to be picked up at the end of the meeting.

Here is Abbey, helping out at the Critter Oasis Adoption Fair.  She was the doggie.  I was the mommie:
Maybe tomorrow night, I will tell you all about The Sparklers.

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago